Sunday, August 31, 2008

and on the layout...

Let's not forget the layout, with all this loco progress...

The layout previously known as 'Nant Gwernol' (really a DCC test track now) has had its top level ballasting fine tuned and the rails painted with humbrol 62 (leather).

The main layout has had further scenery added, some rock colours toned down and one board's track finished off with sleeper grime. This is an experiment to see the effect of such treatment. If it works (I think it will) then I will paint the rest of the layout asap. Gates, drains and other details are also been collated quietly in the background and the other 2 station lamps should arrive this week too.

Before the really dark nights set in, I hope to complete the second traverser and start experimenting with the brass bolts (I bought 12 off eBay for 99p each last week). I also hope to complete the base scenery around the car park area and finish the sleeper griming (as above). I'm also still awaiting a replacement DCC points decoder from gaugemaster...


From the works

Firstly, from the Gloucestershire works...Dad has made a grand job of Merddin Emrys... nearly complete now.

and I've been carrying on with K1 - here below are the frames and gearbox former, both with rivets pushed out, bearings in, overlays added on the frames and the bearings filed down to be flush.
and Taliesin has made strides forward. The body is now nearly complete with handrails drilled out, the toolbox added and other details prepared. Other good news is that a new chimney is on the way (the rogue chimney I had been given is from Blanche!).

On the chassis, Dad came up this weekend to weave some magic and we added wheels, crankpins, gears, layshaft and coupling rods. The brake hangers were laminated and the chassis checked for squareness. The quartering was done and the worm prepared too.

We have had fun and games with the crankpin bushes and screws though due to the very tight clearances around the piston rod...further work is necessary as we run out of time, but tonight I have also attached the pivot outrigger and reamed out one coupling rod a little more so that the screw fits inside it, giving a little more clearance. However, in doing so I appear to have created a slight bind in the reverse direction. It doesn't happen on every revolution, but only every 6 or 7, so I am stumped as to why. I guess the quartering may be slightly out when I reattached the coupling rod??


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More Tal...

Tonight's progress is good - mostly with the fiddly bits like the bunker top flange, reversing lever, brake gear and handbrake, cab sides/rear, rear bogie wheels and dome. One problem though - that chimney doesn't look right - it's far too tall - I think I might have a wrong part in the kit - have contacted backwoods...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Here's a run down of my toolkit, which may be of interest to other modellers:

This assumes that you will be making up plastic, white metal and brass/nickel silver kits.

The core set

Sharp craft knife with spare blades.
Needle files – I also use nail files (easy to get from Boots etc) as they are less aggressive than needle files for some applications
Brush for flux and mek pak application (mine are different colours for each)
Small screwdrivers – for screwing and the removal of solder from flat surfaces
Fibreglass scratch brush
Set of micro drills and pin chuck
Steel rule
Set square
25W (or more) soldering iron, I also have a temperature controlled iron for low melt applications (white metal kits)
Small hacksaw with fine teeth
Tweezers (I use reverse and normal varieties)
Xuron tin snips (photo etch shears)
Xuron track cutting snips
Pliers – long nosed are the best – make sure you don’t get the ones with teeth inside!
Tabletop vice with smooth jaws
Tabletop lamp or very high watt bulb in room

Very useful but not entirely essential

Dental picks
Digital calliper for accurate measurement of gaps and thicknesses
Mini drill with cutting discs and other attachments
Other saws such as a piercing saw etc
Set of taper taps (10,12 and 14 BA I use most frequently)
Set of cutting broaches
A selection of nut drivers and spanners

Things I have yet to purchase, but which I expect to be useful

Taper reamer – expensive but performs better than broaches do in some situations

Have I missed any?


Monday, August 25, 2008

Tal update

Further work tonight, including the addition of the valance and tank overlays after annealing to bend them over the formers. The bunker has received its wrapper and tool box and the tank fronts are also on. Underneath the rear, the bogie has been completed (well it needs its wheels yet).

I also started work on the main chassis, with the bearings added and cylinders bent to shape. I will need Dad's jig to check this as I am a little concerned that there may be some out of square issues and maybe a dodgy axle (it looks minor, but they may require some attention to ensure good running).


Sunday, August 24, 2008

The engine room

I have recently taken the plunge and, after much practice of etched brass soldering techniques (mainly on carriages), I have started 2 backwoods loco kits. First up is Taliesin. I have soldered the inner tank formers, cab front and sides to the running plate (which has had the distinctive 'joggle' added too) and I have also affixed the ashpan and a bogie pivot underneath and out of sight in the photo. The bunker former has also been added and 4 12BA captive nuts have been added (and tapped out to remove any traces of solder). The boiler has been filed down and the smokebox door added.

Next I'll be tackling the valance and the tank sides (after annealing them). A number of other parts such as the rear trailing bogie have been cut out, cleaned up and are ready.

The other kit is K1. I bought this second hand (at the Shepton Mallet show) and one set of cylinders had been already made up (pretty well it looks). I have made the following progress:
  • Carrier frame sides and central spacer added, plus white metal detail underneath
  • Boiler front attached (and smokebox door attached to that) and the smokebox wrapper soldered around the boiler.
  • Both tanks made up, soldered over formers.
  • The cab made up, again over a cab former
  • The firebox/ashpan section completed including a captive nut and two wrappers. This took most time so far and although I have made a couple of minor errors here I don;t think they will show.
  • Backhead started with firehole door added.

I don't think I'm up to the valve gear work quite yet (reading the instructions makes me quite concerned - filing away part of the back of the slidebar so the con rod can fit in and adding minute bosses to the rods - arrrrgggghhhh), but I am very pleased with how this has gone so far - it certainly proves that a modeller with a bit of soldering experience can make a decent go at the body bits of these kits (which are so often mentioned as too difficult).

Maybe just maybe I'll manage the Taliesin kit....certainly K1 needs Dad's help when we get to 4 lots of valve gear.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

'State of the nation' or 'ya'll this is where I'm at'

Some shots up and down the layout (the Ffridd Isaf board is now safely stored having been worked up to a standard where it just needs final finishing). Firstly the yard area, which is receiving weathering for that mass of ballast and the start of bushes behind the walls. The ground frame and cabinet are just placed on for now.

The main station board - note the now grey KMX shed. The black car park bit you can see is a busch self adhesive product, which will be used to cover any small imperfections in my initial car park surface and to ensure the car park spaces look well demarcated. This will be painted to make the harsh black a more prototypical grey and to tone the white lines down a bit too.

The first part of Ffridd Isaf and the gradient starts...

The state of the DCC test track, the layout formerly known as 'Nant Gwernol'. Secondary ballasting just drying plus some extra scenery added to the lower section.

The first traverser to get its 6 roads, now all it needs is some stock!

So, overall:

- Woodwork 99% complete (small amount of sanding and fettling may be necessary)
- Electrics 80% complete (need to add controller when purchased [easy], add the replacement points decoder board [a simple case of screwing wires that have already been added to terminals] and the hidden sidings wiring).
- Base scenery 90% complete (car park area to come)
- Detail scenery 30% complete, much more to do here but most materials in stock ready
- Buildings 10% complete (this is the next area to concentrate on - the platform shelter (material sin stock), water towers (braithwaite panel etches for worsley works ready next week hopefully), station lighting (easy) etc
- Fencing and walls 40% complete (main roadside walls done, but fencing not yet started, although some in stock)

and for rolling stock:

- Carriage and waggon department - lots of carriages are soldered up and a few evenings spent cleaning up, washing and spraying will produce a few initial rakes in primer. Paints mostly in stock.
- Loco department (getting there with a couple of engines ready to go and others very close. Need to accelerate work on K1 and on painting (familiar theme there then!). Only one DCC chipped chassis is ready, so en-masse decoder fitting also required.

So, I think that my original goal to have the layout operational, materially complete and to have at least a few complete trains ready for Easter 2009 is achievable, the main issue now being loco and carriage painting.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

EGM review

I attended the EGM (called to elect a new sec and chair for the 009 society) in Birmingham today.

Lots of images, so for ease I have uploaded them here:

There were some really nice layouts:

Roestok - super locos including that magnificent NG15, a K1 (not backwoods - but a golden arrow kit bashed and with custom chassises), two gorgeous class 91s (yes they're big!) and multi coloured NGG16s. Super.

Mannin Middle (nice name for a layout with a man in the middle!)- an Isle of Man layout was super too, even though I'm not really in to 3 foot gauge.

Porthladd - a lovely little Ffestiniog inspired freelance layout - the Hunslet ladies (Blanche and Linda) both had had outside frames added and a good tip was told - use 1.5mm drill bits from B+Q for the extended axles.

Pferdhugal - finally I meet with Blair - we've been chatting on the 'new railway modellers' forum for a while. A 'bell shaped' layout (not sure if that's the correct term), but basically it means you get scenery both sides, which I had not really seen before. Then there was Wood End, which was also a bell shaped layout!

Ziller Valley in HOe made good use of the considerable ready to run stock available of the Zillertalbahn and I'd love to visit the real thing some time soon!

The traders were good - Worsley Works, Parkside Dundas, 009 sales stand and a new one to me - and N gauge chassis trader who may hopefully solve a problem I have with a chassis for the Lyd2 WHR(P) polish diesel.

The 009 sales stand was a little disappointing in that a few items I had hoped would come up didn't, but I still managed to spend a fair amount on useful bits!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Quick update

The following has been progressed over the last few days:
  • Nant Gwernol has had its track properly laid on the top level, holes drilled for point motors, an extra feed soldered on and 4 frog connections soldered ready for when I get round to buying the point motors. Then all the new track was ballasted and is drying. I am doing some work on this layout at the moment, as it will now become a kind of DCC test track, as well as a small shunting layout in its own right.
  • The Waunfawr end hidden sidings board has had its sides cut out of 6mm ply and tacked on. This completes all major woodwork.
  • The last of the track on Rhyd Ddu has been painted and the points ballasted.
  • A further greenwash was applied to the grass on the station boards
  • The concrete water tower bases have been painted with railmatch concrete colour
  • I have started experimenting with track and ballast weathering, railmatch sleeper grime slightly thinned seems to work best.
  • The tricky ramp at the end of the platform has been cut out, glued on and painted
  • One of the hidden siding traversers has had 6 roads of track laid (glued on). The other should be progressed once I've bought enough track!
  • I noticed that the points decoder was missing two connections (after reading the instructions again) and added one of them with no problem, the final wire however was not good news - the grub screw doesn't work and so the wire couldn't be captured! I have complained to gaugemaster and hope a replacement will appear soon - another 14 wires to re-attach! Can you believe that it was the last wire I tried! Typical. I gave up in disgust and watched some Olympic coverage on TV - the wonders of the interactive red button!


Monday, August 11, 2008

Meet Tamiya and Kyosho

Well, in a minute anyway. First we visited the Nottingham Transport Heritage Centre on Sunday, where there was a model railway exhibition. The below 009 layout called Tan y Banc was the only narrow gauge interest and was a lovely little affair. The centre is standard gauge and so doesn't get a review, although the train trip was surprisingly long and pleasant.

There was also a miniature railway that we had a very enjoyable ride on.

Anyway, I am pleased to report that all wiring (bar lighting and signals) is now complete, including point motors and board joins. DCC power is now available to the whole layout, including hidden sidings. The only wiring that needs now completing is that on the hidden sidings. Given I have yet to lay the track here that is probably unsurprising to regular Rhyd Ddu blog visitors!

So who or what are Tamiya and Kyosho - take a look here -

Below is an example of the pair (also used as hard disc cable connectors) I have used to carry the three connections for the point motors back to the DCC accessory decoder.

These are super little connectors, easy to use (I soldered the wires to the crimp just to be sure) and are pretty cheap too - certainly much easier to use than serial connectors!

Below is the Ffridd Isaf board...

Below is the first board after Ffridd Isaf with the loop point on....

Next is the main station board...

Then the board with all the action - the yard points and DCC accessory decoder...

Then board 1 - the square board

and finally the hidden sidings showing the choc blocks installed...

I also had time to think about the track plan for the top level of Nant Gwernol and to temporarily fix down 2 extra points...


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

By popular request

An image of a Ruston at Steeple Grange...

Tonight the wiring was taken to the next level and all is now done apart from the lighting (station lamps and signals) and I have yet to complete the cross-board connections (including the far loop point back to the DCC points decoder).

That means all feeds are in and attached to the bus bars [stapled onto the boards], isolators reconnected (not now needed for DCC!), point motors wired up (including frog connections) and connections to the points decoder.

and this is the final wiring plan:


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Weekend report

A couple of railways were visited this weekend. First up is the extraordinary Steeple Grange Light Railway...

which features some odd points!

The staff were very friendly, and it's a nice little railway which goes a fair length for a cheap fare (£1.50 return) and up some serious gradients. They have a nice running shed, a little shop and even a small branch line that they take waiting passengers on whilst they wait for the 'main line' train. No steam though, publicity is poor (except for media coverage of a dispute with e.on electricity) and parking is a side of road job. There is also an odd squeeze through a gatepost to get in which would be hard for a pregnant lady or anyone of a larger than average waist size. The rolling stock is basic (miners' manriders) and the trip is mainly through woods to the middle of nowhere. Thus it doesn't score very well, which is a shame as we had a lovely hour or so there. 23%

Today we went on the Rudyard Lake Railway. Rudyard sports a tidy little station with its own footbridge and seasonal planting.

There were 3 steam engines in steam, all very similar and built for the Exmoor Steam Railway.

The trip along the lake was lovely, with nice views and a decent length. There was a festival on at the Dam, where we had a nice cup of tea. Overall 47%, just short of Kirklees, which feels about right as the facilities (shop, cafe etc) are better at Kirklees.

Oh and I did some wiring underneath the board with all the action (4 point motors)... Note the DCC points decoder (gaugemaster) installed and the DCC bus (two household copper wires [red and black] stripped in a few places). All wires have been soldered to their 'home' be it a feed, point motor etc) and a series of chop blocks have been glued on ready. All wires have had their ends stripped, so when the chop blocks are solid, wiring can be completed quite quickly.

I expect to staple the main bus wires to the board. That is if I can repair the netto nail gun!

and also gave the KMX tamper container a second coat of primer, added a polyfilla bank near the steps from the car park, painted rocks where they had been missed from the other side, added foliage to the walls to cover gaps and tone the stones down and a few other minor jobs.


Friday, August 01, 2008

Born again layout

Now that I've made the switch to DCC, I really need a decent programming track...and also I could do with a 'round and round' layout for loco running in. Solution? Alter my first layout, which is sitting forlornly in the garage. The layout has been featured on this blog before (search for Nant Gwernol). So, what have I done to it?

The first problem was that the loop point just outside the tunnel was very unreliable as it was an altered N gauge curved point. This has been removed and plain line laid in its place. On the top level a point and two sidings have been added (see below)

This gives me a test track, a round and round running in track and a reliable (now the curved point has gone) shunting layout too. It's all good.

In other news, another attempt has been made at modelling the Larch - this time faller trees - shown below with a Spruce for comparison.

and some very well priced smaller trees were picked up from Bachmann...

The 'plug-in' chop blocks that I'm planning to use for some board join connections have been found again (I've been looking for these for a week!)

The KMX tamper container was sprayed with plastic grey primer (which happens to be the correct colour anyway).

4 holes were drilled in the platform and a test lamp column installed.

and the garage was rejigged again to allow access to the other side of the second Ffridd Isaf board - quite a few bits of rocks have been missed (because I couldn't see them!) and the point needs painting on this side. Note the traffic jam!

and now we come to the kerfuffle of the week... On studying the wiring diagram on a cross country train mid week, I discovered that if the yard point was set for the yard, you couldn't run round the train in the loop. This is a minor operational issue, but would likely be annoying the few times you wanted to use it. Thus I needed to remove some normal joiners and replace them with isolated ones and then add a new feed. So I dug up the point in question and promptly broke the frog in lifting it! So a new point had to be purchased and added (now done), but this now needs ballasting and rails step forward, one back...
But at least the Pitt's Head road walls have been added too (baked to 160 degrees C in the oven and then bent to shape). Further scenic work will hide the joins!